Pretty much everyone knows someone who was home schooling before recent events. Even more so now with the school year ending early and fall being up in the air. If you home school or know someone who does, read on.
Several home schooling Moms have contacted recently. They are wondering if Email Etiquette should be part of their home schooling efforts. Some not too sure if their skills and knowledge were sufficient.
I’m homeschooling my kids during the lock-down and see how important technology has become to the process. That got me thinking about email and what I should teach my middle-school children about it before they are actually using it everyday.
How do I relay what email etiquette is and why it is so important? TIA!
What is Email Etiquette and Why is it Important?
When you think of etiquette, you tend to think about manners too, right?
Etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
Manners: a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others.
As we all know, habits formed during childhood are those we carry into our life experiences. To teach your children how to use technology properly, email etiquette in particular, you are most certainly giving them a leg up.
When it comes to communication, communications that avoid misunderstandings and take others into consideration are those that are most effective. That’s where email etiquette comes in.
Email Skills Open Doors
Whether it be teachers, coaches, friends or parents. Email skills can open the door to opportunities that otherwise may not have been apparent.
With that baseline set, why is email etiquette so important? Because, how you use email will show what is important to you. For example:
- What is your level of education?
If you have typos or lack punctuation and proper sentence structure, your message gets muddled.
- Can you communicate with clarity?
Choosing your words carefully is important to make sure the desired intent and tone of your message is relayed.
- Do you take messages at their face value, respond promptly and appropriately?
Responding based on the message alone, not emotionally to what you think is meant, helps to avoid many a misunderstanding.
Then and Now
Back in the day, letters were a thing. Everyone knew how to write cursively and then took the time to craft letters that detailed their experiences and emotions.
If you’ve ever read a letter from long ago, they told a story and you would get drawn in to the tale being told. Between the beautiful handwriting and life experience being shared, you felt the importance of the author’s writings.
Now we have email and most children are not taught cursive writing. But that doesn’t mean we should no longer teach about how to properly communicate with the written word.
Email is different in that it is short and generally to the point. However, knowing how to communicate with clarity, with the written word, is a skill that builds relationships and will be crucial to any career your children may have in the future.
Just as you would write a different letter to your Mother, than you would a business associate, same goes for email. Including taking into consideration how your email may impact the recipient.
Being less formal with friends and family makes sense. However, when emailing for business, there is no room for informality or muddled messaging. So when it comes to children, as with anything, forming good habits can benefit them in adulthood.
Teach by Doing
What you can do is setup email addresses for your children that they can use to email you. Learning by doing.
Start each day with a new topic. I created a convenient worksheet that you can print and use over there on the right.
Write in the topic before each lesson. Then have your children write down what they think they know and what they want to know.
After the lesson you can then have them finish the final column. This is where they confirm what they have learned.
Email Etiquette: 10 Day Home School Course
Setup a little curriculum where each day you communicate via email about a different topic. I’ve included links to other articles on this site for you to read up on and customize as you see fit.
Use the worksheet each day for the topic at hand. The topics below are the essentials, but you an break them down into smaller lessons, or review my site and add additional lessons too.
Have them email you about a subject of their choice. Look for a short concise Subject:, typos, a proper greeting and closing and what is the perceived intent and tone.
From file size to image size and data allowance considerations.
This exercise will teach them how to protect contact privacy and set expectations.
Go through the steps on how to forward an email. When to do so and the proper way of doing so. (Lesson #3 applies here too.)
Generally speaking 24-48 hours is recommended.
Send them an email where you pretend to be a “friend” that is mean or name calls and have them respond appropriately. They will have to deal with this at some point, we all do. Having covered this in advance will help them to have perspective and respond appropriately.
Have your children email you a short email about a subject they would like to learn more about and why. Incorporating previous lessons.
Have them send you an email about something they really want and to include why they will be disappointed if they don’t get their way.
The onus is on you each user to pay attention to details so that they can protect not only their own but others information. These tips are part and parcel of participation.
The Future is Bright
With remote working environments becoming mainstream, email skills are going to be even more important for most jobs in the future. Give your children that running start now.
When your children grow up reflecting a command of the written word and ability to use email properly, they will stand out from the rest. It’s a competitive world and who wouldn’t want their child to be positioned to impress?